Airport Parking Guides

Where to Park, Shop and Dine in the Orlando Airport

September 1, 2023

Eat, Dine, and Shop at MCO

The Unique History of Orlando International Airport 

Orlando International Airport is not only the busiest airport in Florida but one of the busiest in the United States, handling over 50 million passengers annually. Its extensive 13,302 acres also make it one of the largest airports by land in the country, where it operates as a hub for people visiting popular Orlando attractions like Walt Disney World, University Studios, and SeaWorld. 

However, it wasn't always such a popular commercial airport: in fact, Orlando International Airport's odd three-letter code, MCO, comes not from its name but from its history as a military base. During this time, it was named McCoy Air Force Base in honor of Colonel Michael Normal Wright McCoy. It kept the MCO designation to honor its military history. 

Currently, MCO offers non-stop flights to six continents, making it one of the most vital transportation hubs in the world. It provides service from airlines like Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit, Southwest, Aer Lingus, Aerolineas Argentinas, AeroMexico, and United Airlines. However, MCO also serves many more airlines to streamline your travel. In this way, it's likely to stay one of the nation's busiest and most famous airlines for some time, particularly for those on a fun family vacation .

Art and Things To See in MCO

MCO provides unique art exhibits , including a permanent collection highlighting local and international artists. There are also amazing sculptures and other items spread throughout different terminals. For example, MCO hosts the work of Duane Hanson , which includes hyper-realistic sculptures of Florida legends, including sports players, historical figures, and more. 

Interestingly, Orlando International Airport is also one of the few modern airports that maintains an observation deck for its visitors! This deck lets you watch planes take off and land, which is an excellent option for people who love airplanes or for young children. Many people spend hours here on layovers watching majestic planes take off, land, taxi, and much more. 

Parking/Transportation at Orlando International Airport

MCO provides multiple parking options throughout its many acres, including easy access from hotel shuttles, local buses, taxi cabs, shuttle vans, ride-sharing, and much more. You can reserve a parking spot in these areas and pay a fine, though your vehicle will likely sit unguarded and unprotected during your visit. Rather than taking that risk, you can work with The Parking Spot

With The Parking Spot, you can reserve a parking spot at 5500 Hazeltine National Drive, not far from Orlando International Airport. Typically, you can reserve a parking spot here at 40% less than at the airport. Even better, they're just a few minutes from MCO and provide not only door-to-door shuttle service but other amenities as well, including: 

  • Access to low rates by reservation, prepay, and The Spot Club loyalty program .
  • Parking support for businesses , including corporate travel managers
  • 24/7 on-call shuttle service. 
  • Shuttle tracking when using The Parking Spot app. 
  • Easy-to-use method when you reserve a parking spot
  • Help with handling your luggage. 
  • Short- and long-term parking options. 
  • Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • Simple express check-in and check-out using the app.
  • Premium parking options for those who want it.
  • Complimentary bottled water while on the shuttle.
  • Soft Hands Car Care includes a car wash within 24 hours of your return.

Hotels Near Orlando International Airport

If you're interested in traveling to Orlando through MCO, there are many hotels to consider. Each of these high-quality destinations will provide you with a myriad of amenities and can make your Orlando trip more enjoyable.

  • Hilton Orlando
    6001 Destination Parkway, Orlando, FL 32819
    Ph.: +1.855.605.0316

Terminal Map for MCO

Before traveling to Orlando International Airport, check out the terminal map at this official link . This map can help you get around the airport properly, understand the security checkpoints, and avoid confusion. As one of the biggest airports in the nation by sheer size, a map like this can keep you focused and avoid flight delays.

Checking Wait Times and Flight Status at Orlando International Airport

You can check your flight times using Arrow Cast , an official service that tracks flight wait times and statuses at Orlando International Airport. Other sites, like I Fly and TSA Wait Times , also provide information on MCO flights and may be useful if Arrow Cast is down or you can’t get accurate information from it: while rare, this problem may occur. 

Food and Dining Options at MCO

If you or your family gets hungry at Orlando International Airport, here are a few dining options that may work well for you: 

  • Asian Chao – A popular Asian eatery with many meals and quick bites. 
  • Auntie Anne’s – Stop here for a quick and tasty pretzel.
  • Bahama Breeze – Try this restaurant for a unique grill-style experience.
  • Burger King – This and other popular fast-food restaurants are available at MCO.
  • Chick-Fil-A – Love chicken sandwiches? Try Chick-Fil-A.
  • Einstein Bros. Bagels – Try this dining option if you love bagel sandwiches.
  • On the Border – Mexican food fans may enjoy this simple Mexican-style grill.

Amenities, Pet Support, and More at Orlando International Airport 

MCO is a modern facility that provides many unique amenities for its visitors. For example, it has one of the largest airport-based solar farms in the nation, one that covers 17 total acres. This renewable energy concept helps power the airport and improves its efficiency. Other eco-friendly initiatives here include recycling programs and energy-efficient lighting.

Orlando International Airport also supports your pets and service animals while traveling, though pets must be in a carrier if they’re not approved for work. Each terminal has at least one area where you can “relieve” your dog’s bathroom needs during travel. Please clean up any waste your dog leaves with complimentary bags to keep the area clean. 

Please make sure that you contact MCO before shipping your pets with them to learn more about their guidelines. For example, they can help connect you with AirAnimal, a company that helps transport pets safely during flights. You should also call them to discuss the steps necessary for your service animal, as you may need a specialized booking to give your animal room on the plane.

Fun for Kids and Teens Near MCO

When traveling with kids or teens , finding ways to keep them entertained is essential. Here are a few destinations that might engage your children while in Orlando:

  • Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (445 South Magnolia Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801) – Visit this center to check out live music and Broadway shows or movie nights that may entertain your children.
  • Universal Studios (6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819) – This well-known amusement park is about 30 minutes from the airport and is an excellent place to visit if you want to entertain your kids in Orlando. 
  • Lake Eola Park (512 East Washington Street, Orlando, FL 32801 – Stroll around this relaxing park right in Orlando. You can also rent swan paddle boats, check out live events, and watch movies and concerts with your children to keep them entertained. 
  • Walt Disney World (Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, FL 32830) – Who hasn’t wanted to go to Disney World at some point? It’s just 17 miles from Orlando International Airport if you've never been there. 
  • Orlando Vineland Premium Outlet (8200 Vineland Ave, Orlando, FL 32821) – Shopping at this outlet is a popular option for people who visit Orlando International Airport. Many kid-friendly options may appeal to you. 

Note that there are multiple nursing stations throughout MCO, including in Terminals B and C, including at most gates. These stations let young mothers nurse their young children in peace and comfort and meet other parents going through the early stages of their child’s development. 

Lounges at Orlando International Airport 

MCO provides seven lounges to relax and enjoy food, drinks, and interactions with fellow passengers. If you’re on a layover and have a little time to kill but don’t feel like leaving the airport, check out the following lounges to relax a bit and enjoy yourself:

  • American Airlines – Admirals Club Lounge at Gates 30-59
  • Delta Air Lines – Sky Club Lounge at Gates 70-99
  • Plaza Premium Lounge at Gates C230-C245
  • United Club Lounge at Gates 30-59
  • The Club at MCO Lounge at Gates 1-29
  • The Club at MCO Lounge at Gates 70-99 at USO Welcome Center Lounge, Terminal A, Level 1

Moving Walkways, Lightrails, Wheelchair Assistance, and Other Services at MCO

Orlando International Airport receives light rail support from SunRail , which connects the airport to the Sand Lake Road station. This unique service takes you directly to the airport from this station, streamlining your transportation and making getting where you want to go easier. Furthermore, they also provide moving walkways throughout their pedestrian bridges. 

MCO uses an inter-terminal transportation system called the automated people mover (APM) that moves passengers between the main terminal and concourse areas. Note that MCO also provides wheelchair support and other assistance, including an obstruction-free design, that helps make their airport easier for everyone, including those needing transportation assistance and other support measures. 

Security at MCO

When visiting Orlando International Airport, you must do what you can to streamline airport security . This step can help you get through this facility more quickly. Currently, MCO manages its security with the Transportation Security Administration or TSA, who you can call at 1.866.289.9673 if you have any troubles. You can also contact the Orlando Police Department to handle thefts at 1.407.246.2470.

Orlando International Airport also includes security checkpoints at each terminal with global entry or TSA pre-check , depending on the location and the line. Pre-screenings are a great idea if you’re busy and need to get through security without delay. Note that this service isn’t always available at all checkpoints, so make sure you call ahead to learn more. 

Free Wi-Fi at Orlando International Airport 

MCO provides free Wi-Fi access throughout its public area on the network “MCO Internet. They ask that visitors refrain from using personal hotspots because they may interfere with the airport’s internet service. Note that cellular wireless is also available through the airport from Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T for those providers’ customers.


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